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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Zuckerberg, Autism, and Vaccines

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism.

At GH, Maria Carter writes of Mark Zuckerberg:
The Facebook CEO added a photo of himself and 6-week-old daughter Max on Friday, with the caption: "Doctor's visit — time for vaccines!"
Though it's not an official (or even very blatant) endorsement, Zuckerberg's message appears to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated. Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, live in Northern California, where, as TIME reports, cases of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases are spiking as "anti-vaxxer" sentiment grows. In June, the state passed a law requiring all children to get vaccinated before starting school.
Responses to Zuckerberg's post have been mostly positive, with the top "liked" comment coming from "someone with autism" thanking the tech billionaire for "doing what's right and also for showing everyone else that it's the right thing to do as well."


Tom Boggioni writes at Raw Story:
Whether Zuckerberg’s post was meant as a taunt or a simple reminder to get children vaccinated, the negative response was to be expected — or as Laura-Kathleen Redman commented, ” *patiently waits for anti-vaxxers to show up*”
And show up, they did.

“We all care about our kids. Growing up, my mom’s best friend had a perfectly healthy daughter. She received MMR and had a grand mal seizure and suffered brain damage. Her dr diagnosed her with vaccine injury. She was left unable to talk or walk for the rest of her life. So that was MY first personal experience with vaccines,” Amy Smith wrote. “Bottom line…A pharmaceutical that carries at least a risk of harm to some, should never be mandated. Because, in the end, no one seems to care about the ‘sacrifices’ made for the ‘common good.'”
 Christopher Brennan writes at The New York Daily News:
One poster said that the tech entrepreneur with a net worth of more than $40 billion was profiting from sharing the cute picture of his daughter.

I bet he just lined his pockets from big pharma to publicly post this for millions to see pushing vaccines that ‘wow, the famous Mark Zuckerburg vaccinated his baby so you should to!’ and I don't believe it, just because he made a public statement doesn't make it real,” she said.
Anti-vaxxers stubbornly maintain that ingredients in vaccines may put children at risk of developing autism, despite the Centers for Disease Control and other health officials denying any such link.
Vaccination rates at some daycares in the technology mecca of Silicon Valley are particularly low, according to Wired, threatening children’s herd immunity to fight diseases such as the measles.
“As someone with autism, with a son with autism, as someone who is constantly watching good people put their own children at serious risk because of old, fraudulent fears of vaccines and autism... thank you for being sensible,” one grateful parent shared under Zuckerberg’s post.